Free Tips & Easy "How to" Instructions
The earth's landfills are filling up faster than ever before, even though it has been clear for a long time that there is only so much space left. At the same time forests are being cut down, and the air is being polluted. We are oversaturing the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and methane and are already beginning to feel the effects of global warming. More and more people have the desire to change all this and are simply looking for practical advice on how to do so.
Here are 10 unsorted biggies you need to keep an eye on, 10 ecological sins committed by most people, simply because they don't know any better.
Find out what you shouldn't do and what you can do to change things. Change your life first, then try to affect as many people in your surroundings as you can.
If you are already a car owner, you have the obligation to keep the damage to a minimum. That includes at the very least that you make sure your car is maintained regularly. Smoky exhausts are not the only indicators of a polluting car.
Cars emit greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming. The biggest contributor is carbon dioxide, but cars also produce methane and nitrous oxide. It would therefore be better to get a eco-friendlier or green car. That is not a viable option for a lot of people simply because they can't afford any kind of new car, but various governments are beginning to fund programs that make it at least a bit easier on the buyer's wallet. Germany, for instance, is paying people 2500 Euros (about 3200 USD) to crush their old cars.
Don't use any plastic bags. Don't buy them, and don't accept them if they are given to you for free. Take a stand - say "no" to plastic bags! This is very important and yet so simple to implement.
You can use paper bags, which is still not ideal because they are not so durable, slightly bulky, not to mention the impact this has on the forest, or better yet canvas bags as a perfect replacement for plastic bags.
Exaggerated packaging puts a heavy weight on the landfills, and if you think about it for two seconds you'll realize immediately that all of those packaging materials always and immediately go to trash. Packaging is sometimes needed, but it should be adequate, and with eco-friendly materials.
You can get things moving in this area as well!
Disposable, or alkaline, batteries are thrown away after they are empty. After that the batteries break down and leak chemicals, which eventually reach the groundwater. Billions of such disposable batteries are being produced per year!
As often so, switching to eco-friendlier rechargeable batteries doesn't only help the environment, but also your wallet! It is real simple too. You don't have to switch any devices or anything that complicated. Rechargeable batteries exist in the same sizes and configurations as the disposable ones. You could even go a step further and charge your rechargeable batteries using a solar panel. It doesn't have to be anything fancy on your roof, they come in all shapes and sizes, and will work when positioned close to a window as well.
Incandescent light bulbs, which is what used to be common, use up 60-75% more energy than compact fluorescent light bulbs!!
The math couldn't be more simple. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are environmentally sound and an excellent alternative to the regular light bulbs.
If you still have any incandescent light bulbs left in your home, get rid of them today!
By the way, when you are throwing away compact fluorescent bulbs, make sure you do it properly, as they contain a small amount of mercury.
This is a no-brainer! You shouldn't use toxic cleaning products because they are toxic.. They contaminate our water and air and, much too often, they even contain cancer-causing chemicals. It seems like basic common sense to avoid such products, but the surprising part is how many of such products are still out there, available to you and your next-door neighbor!
The alternative are natural cleaning products, which are not only better for the environment in the wider sense of the word, but also for your health and your immediate environment. You can even make cleaning products yourself, using ingredients such as vinegar, salt, lemons and baking soda. When doing it yourself the ultimate benefit is that you now exactly what they consist of, and you have nothing to worry about.
PVC is one of the most common plastics used today. It is widely used in construction, packaging, children's toys, imitation leather, audio records (vinyl), etc.. PVC is neither biodegradable nor degradable and is therefore a global pollutant.
Additionally, the process of creating PVC has a byproduct called dioxin, which is one of the most toxic chemicals known to men. Many countries are already restricting their use of PVC and more and more companies, such as IKEA, Nike or The Body Shop are completely eliminating PVC from their products.
As a consumer you can pay attention to what exactly you are buying, especially when it comes to children's toys. There are many eco-friendly and healthy alternatives available, such as wooden toys, or toys made from other natural materials.
As beautiful as woods, like teak and mahogany, are, the increased demand has caused an increased harvest of tropical rainforests. The removal of each such tree causes an imbalance of immense proportions. Everybody knows that each cut tree means one resource less to clean our air, but that's not all. These trees are also a home to millions of animals. Half of Earth's plant and animal species live in the rainforest. By removing these trees, we are removing their natural, long-established habitat.
The least you can do the next time you are buying hardwood furniture is to make sure that the wood comes from certified forestry programs. Here are a few resources you can use for your research:
If you are willing to go an extra mile or kilometer (metaphorically speaking), consider buying bamboo instead. It grows like crazy, is therefore highly renewable and hence the eco-friendliest option.
Since styrofoam is not biodegradable, it should be a complete taboo, yet it is still being produced. You can contribute to changing this by refusing styrofoam in all its shapes and forms.
Cups, fast food containers, packaging materials, etc. - There are many environmentally friendly alternatives to styrofoam for all these products..
Again, take a stand and say "no" to styrofoam!
If you already have children, then this part is, obviously, not for you. It is rather something for young couples to keep in mind when planning their future.
The lovers' need to create offspring is one of the most natural things in the world. Everyone can relate to that. However, with a world as overpopulated as ours, we should be concerned about what that is exactly that we leave behind for our children. The more people live in the world, the more resources are needed in order to sustain all of them, and we all know what that means for the planet, which in turn again affects us. It is a perpetual circle that needs to be respected.
In that sense young families should, if at all possible, try to have no more than 2 children maximum. One child would also be ok, it would help things balance out sooner if more families thought about it that way. Families with more than two children, as lovely and heart-warming as that sounds, are actually counter-productive for the planet.
Switch to renewable energy in your home
Shall we give our planet a break and simply love it?